First, some business: 9-1-1 has been renewed! Of course, Fox also picked up 9-1-1: Lone Star, and while I wasn’t the biggest fan of that show’s first season, I’m hopeful it too will grow into its potential the same way 9-1-1 has through the years. Both shows came out of the gate riding high on star power, but 9-1-1 learned to lean into the charms waiting in its own wings and push them to the forefront. Basically, Lone Star needs to find its Chim.
And speaking of Chim, did he become the main character or what? I know I’ve been off my recapping game for a couple of weeks (I have no excuse, other than *flaps hands vaguely at world*), but in recent episodes Chim and Maddie’s relationship has reached a beautiful new level that thankfully doesn’t hinge on him bleeding out in her courtyard. He even confessed his love, and better yet — he gracefully accepted that “I love you” are words that Maddie isn’t able to say yet, despite the depth of her own feelings for him. That scene was a beautiful little oasis in an episode otherwise occupied by gruesomely mangling people with nail guns and bowling pin racks, and it played an important role in last night’s episode, “The Taking of Dispatch 9-1-1” as well. When Maddie finds herself in the midst of a hostage situation at work, she tries to get a last-ditch cry for help out to Chim by… telling him she loves him. And it works! He gets suspicious, and starts investigating!
Following in the footsteps of last season’s April episode, “Ocean’s 9-1-1”, the series delivered another standout, nail-biter heist premise — and also received its second-highest ratings of this season with the effort. In a lot of ways, it followed the same formula a its predecessor: a character is put in danger during the course of an elaborate robbery, only for the crew to race against the clock to save their friend and the day, finally revealing how it all went down in the show’s final moments. This time, a team of art thieves have set their sights on a museum in downtown LA, and in order to get in and out undetected, they need to masquerade as cops responding to a security alarm… while also making sure that the REAL cops don’t show up. Which brings us back to Maddie’s hostage crisis: The robbers need to take control of the 9-1-1 dispatch center so they can make sure that police officers are not dispatched to any emergencies in the downtown area.
The intricacies of the plot are a little convoluted, but what makes it work is the interplay between the hostages inside the dispatch center and the responders outside. Maddie’s message to Chim is the first step, which makes him worried enough to call Buck. Meanwhile Athena is getting suspicious as to why she’s being dispatched along with four other cops to an incident across town when she’s already at the site of a car accident Downtown. When Maddie’s co-worker Josh is able to sneakily dispatch Athena to Chim’s doorstep without the robbers noticing, they all realize that something fishy is going on and head to the call center. The thing is, we expect Athena to keep her cool and save the day. We expect Chim to doggedly push forward, and we expect Buck to make a few boneheaded moves but stick with them all the way. They, after all, are our heroes. What makes the episode so tense is that the 9-1-1 operators are never the ones on the front lines, and staying calm on the phone is very different from staying calm with a gun in your face. While Athena is racing to gather a SWAT team outside, the operators are on their own inside the building, unsure if anyone is coming to their rescue or if the robbers will even let them live when this is through. So they fight back. Maddie and Josh and Sue all wind up disarming guards to try and save their colleagues, just as SWAT comes rolling in.
All that’s left is the big reveal, that all the robbers were being double-crossed by their getaway driver, Tiffany, who was the real mastermind behind the heist. She makes off with the artwork and her inside man, a guard at the dispatch office whom she fell in love with, only of COURSE Athena busts them at the train station before they could escape (finally nodding to that other hostage drama, The Taking Of Pelham 123, which inspired the episode’s title). That’s all a nice cherry on top of this story, but that’s not the real ending of the episode. This right here is:
“She already has everything she needs.” Oh Buck, when did you get so wise? Was it after you tried to sue Bobby? Was that it?
Anyway, if 9-1-1 is gonna make heists a yearly gimmick, what movie would you like to see them tackle next? I was gonna say The Thomas Crown Affair but then I imagined all of our favorite first responders pulling some hardcore Mission: Impossible stunts and you KNOW Angela Bassett’s arms would rock the hell out of those tight black t-shirts Tom Cruise always seems to wear.